At a Digital Content NewFronts where there was a plethora of new content distribution partnerships, ESPN was the rare standout. “One of the big things that we did announce was the fact that we had a big announcement, that we have no new distribution deals,” says Travis Howe, SVP, Platform Ad Sales Strategy, Solutions & Global Operations.
“Because, in fact, we are everywhere the sports fan wants us to be,” Howe explains in this interview with Beet.TV. “One of the core messages we wanted to get across today is wherever the sports fan is in the digital ecosystem, we are their voice of sports.”
While ESPN’s owned and operated platforms garner the largest audience of its 81 million fans a month, “Social is a critical aspect of it, most importantly because that’s where some of our fans want to consume their sports content.”
ESPN customizes sports content on Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter in sync with user expectations that vary by platform. “We do not treat them the same.”
Twitter “is a great place for live breaking news. Snapchat is there for digestible content and Facebook is there to tell the story,” says Howe. “Each of those platforms has a very different purpose in terms of communicating with the sports fan.”
He considers the recently upgraded ESPN app to be “one of our crown jewels.” ESPN+, the company’s long-awaited sports streaming service, will feature thousands of live games and original programming for $4.99 a month, and will live inside the ESPN app, as The New York Times reports.
“What’s important about our app is that it engages with 23 million unique fans. Capturing that audience is very important to us and we take it very seriously.”
Two main features of the app are personalization and direct-to-consumer sports.
Personalization ensures that “every single fan who comes to our app gets a unique and different experience based off of their preferences and fan behaviors.”
He calls ESPN+ “the first direct-to-consumer sports property, which allows us to give the sports fans more. ESPN+ allows us yet another outlet for our fans to engage with even more sports content around some of the best leagues and sports in the industry.”
This video is part of Beet.TV’s coverage of the Digital Content NewFronts 2018. The series a co-presentation of Beet.TV and the IAB. Please see additional videos from the series on this page.